A Whole Lotta Nothing

Obvious questions no one seems to be asking

So if Saddam and sons do go into self-imposed exile today or tomorrow, does that mean there won't be a war, and we'll just toss in a new leader in his place?

I assume we'll start bombing lots of suspected WMD facilities when the 48 hours are up. Since they're our best guesses where weapons previously not found may reside, we're going to be blowing up lots of stuff and making mistakes (they can't all be WMD facilities). Anyone see a problem with that?

How do know when it is over? When Saddam's body is found? When weapon storage areas are all blown up? What's the goal of this action and why isn't it clearly being communicated?

March 18, 2003 #


I just posted some photos and a quick recap of this year's SXSW Interactive Festival that took place in Austin last week.

March 17, 2003 #

Farkers have a point

I don't usually expect insightful commentary from Fark, but this original image of a congressman touting freedom fries was photoshopped to convey something I hadn't heard before.

March 16, 2003 #

Glasshaus no more?

The most recent post to Glasshaus' site makes me think I won't be getting any royalty checks anytime soon for this (I'm joking here, we were a couple thousand short on sales before that would happen anyway).

It was a cool outfit, they had good books and treated the authors very well. The weird part is they just asked me to contribute to another book a few weeks ago, but now they're gone. I've heard from two sources that their parent company Wrox Press is broke, so all the publishing houses below them are gone as well.

March 14, 2003 #

Trackback from iTunes

Today I looked at my list of contacts in AIM and knew Jerry Kindall was the l33t applescript developer of the bunch. I showed him my previous post, went off to grab a burrito for lunch only to find a working script in my inbox upon return. I just tried it out and it's working as I speak, with output identical to the winamp pings. The full instructions and applescript are included:

Continue reading "Trackback from iTunes"

March 13, 2003 #

Trackbacks in Winamp

You might have noticed that I show the current playing song from my mp3 player here on my site. What you don't know is that I've been using a hack for the past few months. For Winamp, I used the DoSomething plugin to work through a local special template file which would create another local flat file with song info. I'd then ftp the output file to my server, which I loaded as an include. To get my mac to the same, I had to setup a similar program, and both hacks ended up constantly sending flat files to my server over insecure FTP. Kinda sounds like overkill, doesn't it?

I kind of rushed to get this site's new design online before the trip to Austin, and this past week at SXSW gave me about a bazillion more ideas for the site. I'm going to write up all the tech I used, how I built it, and why I did each part in a couple weeks when the site is more feature complete, but I wanted to give you a preview of what that'll be like.

One of the ideas I got yesterday at lunch was using trackback on blogs to do Now Playing lists by just passing urls through mp3 players. I asked Ben and Mena a couple questions and they told me it was 10 minutes work. With a few clicks and copy/paste jobs, I just completed in a matter of minutes and it actually worked.

So Winamp is now sending trackbacks to my blog, and every time a new song comes on, a new ping goes out, and my site changes. Here's how to do it in Winamp 2.x:

Continue reading "Trackbacks in Winamp"

March 12, 2003 #

SXSW so far

Although the crowds seem smaller, or maybe there are just so many film people around, SXSW is fun this year. My panel went ok today, and I'm looking forward to relaxing the rest of my time here.

One thing has really been driven home by the availability and ubiquity of hacking tools: the downside of wireless is (un)security. I've been saying this since last year's E-Tech conference, but as long as Apple is pimping their airports and the wonders of wireless they really should have an "iSecure" app that makes ssh tunneling painless and easy. A few months ago I spent an entire saturday afternoon writing scripts to auto-login to my email server through a tunnel, and that was just email. Secure web browsing is something else entirely, and the services of things like anonymizer look attractive as a total package (but they're still a pain in the ass to setup).

Ideally, it should be entirely transparent, painless, and easy to setup and use a secure tunnel. Apple could even tie a service into their iTools accounts. I'd be happy to pay $50 a year for encrypted email and web traffic (with an easy interface to establish the connection).

March 10, 2003 #

Flash apparently still 99% bad

Due to the inconsistent rendering on chimera camino and safari betas (not that I have a copy or anything *cough* just saying if I did), and the general slowness/crashability in mac/moz, I dropped the flash map that was once here. Oh well, now readers won't see that I'll be in Boston tomorrow for the first time in my life, enjoying a quick snow shower before SXSW (for no reason, here's a Tenacious D bootleg of their Boston medley of songs).

March 5, 2003 #

User Experience MX

The new Macromedia site is simple and clean and I like it, though I'm finding it takes me more steps to find things they used to have on the front page of their site. Granted, the home page used to be cluttered and offered 50 options of where to go.

The most interesting thing I found on the new site was their new commitment to user experience issues as a cornerstone of their business.

While I can picture the marketing team sipping lattes in their "war room" with a huge banner carrying their new slogan "great experiences build great businesses", it's refreshing to hear a major web firm (especially one known for reducing usability in the past *cough* skip intro *cough*) realize the importance of user experience on their bottom line.

Adaptive Path has been preaching this for the past couple years, but it's nice to see a major corporation listening.

March 5, 2003 #

Making OS X useful

This article on taming the dock looks like the solution to my frustration with OS X. I arrange my dock in much the same way shown here, with my favorite apps on one side, and the running apps on the other (though, still on the default dock), but I'm constantly hitting the wrong icon when the dock ballons up on mouseover, and I can never remember where exactly I need to point to launch an app.

I'm giving this a go and seeing how it works out. Funny how it looks a little bit like the windows start bar, isn't it?

March 4, 2003 #

Bush's War Starts in:

19 hours

SXSW 2003

Inspiration often comes from exhaustion
March 16, 2003 [more »]

Mozilla: Blogging's Killer App

March 04, 2003
[more »]

Yosemite, 2003

January 20, 2003
[more »]

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Posted Elsewhere

Big bucks, no whammies!
"That is incredible. Absolutely amazing. I used to spend every summer morning between school years watching the show religiously. I never saw this episode or heard about it before. It looks like he figured out the patterns, or just got his reflexes down..." at MetaFilter

Iraq strikes back, via media
"While I haven't checked out the videos (which is sans translation anyway), it's interesting to hear that the Iraqi government has put up their version of the Saddam-Rather interview from a few weeks back, on their almost blog-like gov't site. I wish th......" at MetaFilter

I agree on some points, but not on others
"I understand your rebuild concerns, and I thought about it too, though I would argue a ping to rebuild a template is better than ftping a flat file hundreds of times a day..." at JayAllen.org

Seattle Newspaper Sports Blogging
"The Seattle Times has launched a sports weblog around local statewide basketball. From the URL (blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com), perhaps it's just the beginning of their sports-weblog empire..." at SportsFilter

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